Zandvlei Trust

Muizenberg East Satelite Conservation Area - Month Report.

This is a working relationship with the City of Cape Town, the Resident Home Owner Associations and Zandvlei Trust.

Monthly Report for August 2012.

Inspections.

Soralia Village.

  • Acacia saligna (Port Jackson), Acacia cyclops (Rooikranz) and Myoporum tenuifolium (Manatoka) were removed from the Conservation Area on the 26th, 30th July and 2nd, 10th, 13th, 17th August by handpulling of seedlings, lopping and herbiciding of cut stumps of large plants.
    The brush material was removed from the site by the Zandvlei foreman and vehicle and disposed of at the Coastal Park Landfill site. These plants had not started flowering or seeding. The conservation area is back in maintenance phase with regards to woody aliens.
  • A section of the eastern block of the conservation area has been invaded with Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu) grass as well as some sections of the landscaped area. The Kikuyu will need to be sprayed with a Glyphosate based herbicide, however this can only commence after the bulbs in the area have become dormant. 
  • The landscaping area on the northern side of the conservation area has become nicely established, however alien grasses and herbaceous weed species will need to be managed to ensure that the threatened plant species (Psoralea glaucina and Muraltia mitior) are not outcompeted. Kikuyu which has invaded this area will be herbicided once the indigenous bulb species have become dormant and selective hand application of herbicide will be undertaken by the Conservation Officer to prevent any non-target plant species from being affected. 
  • The fact that Western Leopard Toads are still calling and moving to the Soralia Village pond as well as 4 other species of frog is a good indication that the pond is still viable as a breeding area and that the water quality can sustain a frog population. Frogs are good indicators of the health of natural remnants and need to be monitored closely. A decline in frog numbers or species generally shows that water and habitat quality are declining.
  • On 10th August a length of thin wire with two fish hooks attached was found in the wetland area next to the stormwater outlet drain. This was not present the week prior to this as alien clearing had been done in this area and the fish hooks were not present. Residents need to be reminded that there are no fish present in the waterbody and that the wildlife may not be harassed or caught in the conservation area.


photograph by Cassy Sheasby.

Fishing hooks attached to wire left in the conservation area wetland 10/08/2012.

  • On four occasions domestic cats were seen in the conservation area. An orange and white one with a collar (very friendly), a ginger coloured one (quite wild) and a white and brown one with blue eyes and collar (quite wild) were chased out of the conservation area. The residents should try to deter their cats from hunting and roaming the conservation area.
    No Helmetted Guineafowl were seen in the area which is a good indicator that this invasive species has not become established in the conservation area and this species will be monitored by the Conservation Officer. The fact that Cape Spurfowl were seen regularly in the conservation area is a good indication that the vegetation cover is sufficient for them to use as habitat.
    On 24th August there were 9 chameleons found in the wetland area including 2 juveniles. This is a good indication that the species is still breeding in the conservation area. A reptile census has been scheduled for the second week of September (weather dependent).
  • Beer bottles were found along the conservation fenceline opposite the houses which appeared to have been thrown into the conservation area by a resident. Litter is also coming from the parking lot of the next door Church and surrounding areas. This should be collected from the fenceline on a regular basis. The Conservation site manager will undertake this when possible. The bins from the bin room are being cleaned and washed out in Sunrise Blvd causing the litter and waste water to enter the stormwater drains. This not only blocks up the drains but also lets all the litter flow back into the conservation area. All bins should be manually cleaned out with a soft broom, all plastic being collected and safely removed from the bins. They should not be washed in the street with water that then percolates into the groundwater as this could be contaminated with chemicals.
    There is some dumping of general waste next to the gate house area which should be removed.


photograph by Cassy Sheasby.

Dumping near the gate house in August 2012.

  • The back flooding on Sunrise Blvd (caused by Eucalyptus branches and leaves blocking the stormwater drains) caused water to back up and the breaking of the blockage caused a massive storm surge of water to wash down the stormwater drain closest to the entrance gate. This has now lead to water erosion along the pathway. Eucalyptus leaves are high in aromatic oils and are acidic. A large number of leaves washed into the conservation area through the stormwater drains from Sunrise Boulevard. These leaves when they decompose have a negative effect on the soil pH and quality and can lead to a decline in invertebrate species. Where possible Eucalyptus leaves should be prevented from entering the conservation area to prevent a possible decline in invertebrates or any negative impacts on soil properties. Litter catch nets will assist in preventing leaves from being scattered along the stormwater course in the conservation area and assist in cleaning operations.
    The stormwater deluge from the heavy rain eroded a large portion of the path way close to the gate house away. This was inspected and some remedial work was done to the path way to try and drain the flooded path, however the path was laid in the lowest lying area of that section and this is where the water would naturally drain to. It is recommended that either the pathway is moved to the informal pathway that runs along the houses to the gate house or that a boardwalk is placed over the affected area as this will continue to flood in high rainfall events. The best solution would be to move the pathway and rehabilitate the area where the path currently lies. This issue will be raised with the Managing Agent and discussed. If the Trustees decide that a boardwalk is the desired solution, then erosion mitigation measures with geotex or sandbags under the boardwalk will be required to prevent further erosion from taking place. Drainage channels could be cut in the higher lying sections of the pathway, however this will not prevent water from collecting at the lower lying section of the path as this runs through a natural depression which collects rainwater.


photograph by Cassy Sheasby.

Erosion occurring along the pathway close to the gatehouse on 29/08/2012.


photograph by Cassy Sheasby.

The Eucalyptus leaves and debris coming into the conservation area
from the gatehouse stormwater drain 29/08/2012.

 


graph by Cassy Sheasby.

Reading taken on 23/08/2012.

 

  • See the data lists updates for the latest updates.

 

Muizenberg East Private Nature Reserve.

  •  Invasive Alien Vegetation:
    The alien vegetation on the proposed development footprint needs to be removed as it is encouraging illegal activities (drug dealing, theft, prostitution and vandalism) as well as posing a threat to the conservation area. The trees are reaching the size where they will start to flower soon and set seed. The majority of CARA listed invasive plants consist of Acacia saligna (Port Jackson), Acacia cyclops (Rooikrans), Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu grass) and many herbaceous weedy species and other invasive annual grasses. Herbicide must be used on cut stump application and the Kikuyu sprayed with a Glyphosate based application to ensure that coppicing or regrowth is prevented.
  • Fire management:
    The alien vegetation and grass that is becoming dominant on the development footprint of this land is causing a fire hazard to the conservation area and surrounding properties. A large brush-pile has also been stacked on the north western side of the development and the responsible party is unknown. The fire department will be contacted regarding this issue.

Sunrise Villas Conservation Corridor. 

  • Alien vegetation was removed from the inside conservation area on 17th and 23nd August. The species consisted of Acacia cyclops (Rooikrans), Acacia saligna (Port Jackson), Myoporum tenuifolium (Manatoka) and Lavatera arborea (Tree Mallow). Herbicide was applied to the cut stumps of larger trees (as per best standards) and small plants were removed by hand pulling.
    There are some alien grass species that have been identified as needing to be removed. This will only be undertaken once the bulbs in the area have become dormant to prevent damage.


photograph by Cassy Sheasby.

The landscaped area in Sunrise Villas is doing well and the plants have become established.

  • See the data tables for the sightings during this report period.

  • A concern regarding the large hole (due to maintenance) along the north-western boundary was raised with the Managing Agent and Trustees of the Estate on 8th August with regards to the lack of hazard tape or barricading around the hole as well as the stockpiling of paving stones in the washing line area adjacent to the hole. The lack of barricading and the stockpiling of paving stones in an area utilized by the Estate residents presented a health and safety risk, especially to children. On the 17th August a maintenance crew was seen working on the hole and associated infrastructure.


photograph by Cassy Sheasby.

The hole left without barricades adjacent to the fenceline 08/08/2012.

  • See the data lists updates for the latest updates.


Capricorn Beach Coastal Corridor.

  • On 4th August an alien clearing hack took place opposite Nautilus centre. 6 people attended and a strip of Acacia cyclops (Rooikrans) was removed on the eastern side of the boardwalk access to the beach. The removal of invasive alien species from the coastal strip will be undertaken in a phased approach to ensure the recovery of indigenous vegetation in this area and the follow up on invasive seedlings once the initial biomass is removed.
    The City of Cape Town Fire Department denied the application to burn the brush piles on this area forcing the City of Cape Town Biodiversity Branch to remove the brush manually. This is costly and will require an immense amount of operational budget as well as a truck and labour. Currently a large amount of the brush is being removed by wood collectors which is rapidly reducing the standing biomass on site.
    The plants that were planted along the coastal strip in June were inspected and the majority were in good health and had become quite well established. There were signs of Zantedeschia aethiopica (Arum Lilies) being cut and the bulbs removed, illegal harvesting is suspected. This was reported to the City of Cape Town Biodiversity Branch.

  • Indigenous fauna management: The wetland was inspected for Western Leopard Toads on 12th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th August. Although Leopard Toads were not heard calling at the wetland, there was a report of a Leopard Toad in a garden in Santiago Bay. Three other frog species were heard calling from the wetland. The Cape Sand Frog was heard calling and this is a new species for the Capricorn Beach wetland and a good breeding record for the area.

 

  • See the data lists updates for the latest updates.


Villa DAl Guarve.

Water samples were taken from the Villa DAl Guarve detention pond on 23rd August.


graph by Cassy Sheasby.

 


Issues and challenges
The City of Cape Town Muizenberg East vehicle (1400 Nissan) was scrapped by Fleet Management at the beginning of August. Currently the replacement of this vehicle is unknown. The Conservation officer has been using a private vehicle to undertake field work and when possible borrowing a vehicle from Zandvlei, however this is unsustainable and could affect the field work severely in the long term.

 


                                                                                                                                             

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